Mid America EDC Celebrates National Rivers Month

Monday, June 13, 2022

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Mid America’s Rivers and Inland Ports Play a Significant Role in Supply Chain Management

June is National Rivers Month, and all of us at Mid America EDC recognize the vital role our rivers play in our region’s prosperity. Mid America is home to several of the largest and most iconic American rivers including the Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and St. Louis, just to name a few. These rivers make the swift and efficient distribution of goods all over the country possible.

Inland ports are also an important contributor to the economic prosperity of Mid America. Mid America is home to two major inland ports - Port of Duluth on the St. Louis River/Lake Superior and Port of Huntington Tri-State on the Ohio River, which is the second-largest inland port in the United States.

Prominent supply chain issues  resulting from the Covid 19 pandemic show just how vital rivers and inland ports are to the effective distribution of goods, and how waterways will be a vital part of the future reimagining of supply chains.

Long global supply chains were found to be problematic during the Covid 19 pandemic, and as logistics evolve, one of the major changes is to no longer depend on a single source of supply, and to find multiple supply options, especially focusing on local and regional solutions.

According to an article in Global Trade magazine, inland ports will be a major factor both in localizing manufacturing and creating supply chains that are more efficient and able to adapt to changing circumstances. Several of the inland ports highlighted in the article are located in the Mid America region, including:

  • St. Louis which was lauded for its highly skilled workforce trained in supply chain management, and its infrastructure which features four ports, six Class I railroad carriers, four interstate highways and two international cargo airports.
  • Cincinnati, which can reach 54% of the United States population within a 10-hour truck drive. Cincinnati also has three intermodal terminals and close proximity to Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.
  • Detroit, the busiest northern border crossing into Canada, is also (based on the value of goods) the second largest customs port of entry into the United States. As for infrastructure, Detroit has four Class I railroads, three intermodal terminals and the Port of Detroit, which handles 17 million tons of cargo every year. 

Rivers have always been an important part of the economy in Mid America, and while their uses and ways they are used for transportation will continue to evolve and change, their significant contributions to the growth of the economy remain. 

In addition to the major role rivers play in supply chain management, they provide a tremendous draw for tourism and recreation. Click here to read all about the scenic rivers in Mid America and to celebrate this wonderful natural resource during National Rivers Month.

Category: News